City of Kingston announces 2023 Civic Award recipients

L to R: Marci McCullen (photo by Allison Grange), Lynda Colgan (photo via Queen’s University website), and Janice Barling (photo via Grandmothers Connection Kingston website).

After the annual call for nominations went out earlier this year, the City of Kingston has chosen six community volunteers who will be recognized with Civic Awards.

According to a release from the City, these annual awards celebrate residents who generously donate their time to the community in the areas of culture, heritage, recreation, sports, health, education, environment, safety, or business.

“At the heart of volunteering is a selfless desire to build community and make a positive impact on the lives of others,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “Each year, I have the privilege of presenting these awards to deserving recipients in Kingston. I am so excited to be announcing this year’s winners. We received many incredible nominations with truly inspiring accounts of individuals going above and beyond for their community. Thank you for dedicating your time, energy and talents to building a thriving and compassionate city.”

On Wednesday, Jul. 5, 2023, the City released the following details on this year’s award recipients:

First Capital Distinguished Citizen:

Lynda Colgan

As a lifelong educator (elementary, secondary and post-secondary) and professor emerita in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, Lynda is known for her enduring commitment to making science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) more fun and accessible. One of the most impactful examples of this is Science Rendezvous Kingston, an annual celebration of science and scientists for the community first organized by Lynda in 2011. She strives to put STEM work on display beyond the classroom to engage young minds, helping them realize their potential as future discoverers.

Honourable Achievement:

Janice Barling

Janice donates her time to many community organizations, several of which she co-founded. Her devotion to community service includes the Stephen Lewis Foundation: Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, Kingston Women’s Interfaith Group, Misiway – Friends of the North, and Kingston Jewish Council. Janice also tirelessly raised funds for a skate park in the Rideau Heights neighbourhood, helped newcomers to Canada settle into the community and raised funds to furnish a sleeping cabin, part of a pilot project to address homelessness in Kingston. The impact of her care and dedication is felt across the community and deeply appreciated by those she has supported.

Marci McMullen

Marci’s nominators describe her as selfless, giving, dependable and a “force of nature”. She is actively involved in volunteering with the Rotary Club of Kingston, Easter Seals, Almost Home, Kingston Humane Society and Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs. Her drive and enthusiasm have led to numerous successful fundraisers for these organizations, raising considerable funds and community awareness for many deserving causes. Marci’s contributions demonstrate a commitment to making a positive difference in the community.

Youth Volunteerism:

Etienne Bougie

The impacts of Etienne’s volunteering are felt not only in his local school community, but across the province and around the world. The grade-five student has been a member of the school’s Humanitarian Club for over two years. During this time, he and his classmates have made ‘Ami(e)s de Poche’ (or Pocket Buddies), small yarn dolls that are sold by the club to raise funds for various humanitarian causes, including earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey, flood victims in Pakistan and food programming at Martha’s Table in Kingston. Etienne is always keen to lend a hand as a bus monitor and likes to make the school laugh by adding in a few jokes during his morning announcements.

Sekai Chikodzi

Sekai is recognized for amplifying the voices of Black and racialized students and creating space for their experiences in the school environment. She planned several activities during Black History and Futures Month in February, including a hair workshop led by a Black hairdresser for students in the Limestone District School Board. Recognizing the importance of hearing from fellow community members, Sekai also organized a Black Panel of Excellence event and moderated the discussion for her peers. She is planning future events for other schools and hopes to create culturally affirming spaces for Black and racialized students across Kingston.

Ravnoor Kang

Growing up in a Sikh household, the concept of ‘seva’ (or community work) was instilled in Ravnoor from a young age. He wanted to make a positive impact during his post-secondary years in Kingston; he started the Kingston chapter of Khalsa Aid, a non-governmental organization providing humanitarian aid, becoming their youngest-ever chapter president. Since that time, the Kingston chapter has grown to 60+ volunteers and supported Partners in Mission Food Bank, Ryandale Transitional Housing, Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest and St. Vincent de Paul Society. Ravnoor also restarted the Queen’s Sikh Student Association and generously donates his time as a coach for the Kingston United Soccer Club.

To find out more about the Civic Awards, go to CityofKingston.ca/CivicAwards, and watch the City of Kingston’s social media channels updates recognizing each recipient and their significant contributions to the community.

Award recipients will be celebrated at a ceremony during the Intercultural Arts Festival on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.

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